As our Summer 2016 newsletter is being mailed, I continue to reflect on events, both here and abroad. Every day there is some major news story—Britain’s decision to leave the European Union (EU), an attempted coup in Turkey, and the Republican and Democratic Campaigns. As the nominees, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, run for president of the United States, it’s interesting to reflect back on the primary season. During the primary season, it looked like our junior senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, had a chance of being one of the two names on the November ballot. His candidacy highlighted the cost of education and the dwindling middle-class in America and he spoke about these issues with great passion.

Back when Bernie graduated from high school, as did I, college tuition was affordable. It was also a time when one could find a good-paying job that didn’t require anything beyond a high school diploma. Inability to afford college tuition didn’t preclude living a middle class life. That paradigm is no longer true. Anyone seeking a better life in 2016 requires an education beyond high school.

The Curtis Fund continues to help those Vermonters wishing to go on for a post-secondary education but need some help to get there. These students know that getting a shot at a better future today requires that college diploma. I’m happy to say that this year, The Curtis Fund awarded over 480 scholarships to aspiring young men and women and our freshman class has 100 matriculating high school graduates along with 50 adult learners.

It would be wonderful if Bernie’s idea of free tuition became a reality, but unfortunately, for now, it’s still just a dream. Our grantees still need our help. Together, with help from our generous donors, we are making an important difference for these students and will continue that effort for as long as we need to. The work continues.

—Joe Boutin, Chair, The Curtis Fund